Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Rahul Ramesh Shewale on Thursday demanded that the Centre provide free washrooms at railway stations, saying if WiFi can be made free then why charge people for basic facilities. Participating in the debate on demand for grants of the railways in the Lok Sabha, he demanded that toilet facilities be provided in local trains too.
“You are providing free WiFi at railway stations, why can’t you provide free toilet facilities at railway stations,” Shewale said. According to the Indian Railways’ digital arm RailTel, its bid to provide access to free WiFi at stations began from Mumbai Central in January 2016 and within 16 months the RailWire WiFi was live at 1,600 stations across India.
Presently, the ‘pay and use’ policy allows the contractors who build toilets at railway stations to fix its usage rates, albeit at market price. According to a 2012 guideline, the railways has fixed up to Rs2 for latrine and Rs5 for using bathroom. It levied no charge for urinals. However, most pay and use toilets charge Rs1-2 for urinals and Rs15-20 for bathing.
Recently, the divisional railway managers (DRMs) also have been given the power to assess how many toilets need to be built in their areas under the Swachh Bharat Mission. They can build them through NGOs or self-help groups which can either charge a nominal fee for their use or nothing at all.